One of the aspects of internet marketing that I have been exploring this week is search engine optimization (SEO). I am currently helping a nonprofit, Cool Classics!, with their website maintenance and have been researching how to improve their rankings in search. The site is powered by WordPress so I have been looking into the best practices of SEO as they pertain to WordPress sites.
Yoast SEO Plugin
Within Worpress it is common to use plugins to add specific features to the site. There are various plugins available for search engine optimization but one of the most highly recommended is the Yoast SEO plugin. The Yoast plugin allows you to pick a focus keyword around which your content can be tailored, leading to an improvement in the SEO of that content.
An owner of a business should then think of the words that describe their business and perform keyword research to find out which of those words are being searched for the most on search engines. One way to do this is to visit Google’s Keyword Planner. Here you will be able to enter in a keyword and it will present you with a range of other words and phrases that relate to your original word and will relay how often that each of these suggested words has been searched. It also allows you to see how much competition for those words exist – that is, whether there are many competitors using that keyword to attract visitors to their sites. What you should look for are keywords that are searched frequently but have low competition.
Where to Place Keywords
Once the keyword has been selected you would then focus your website content around that search term. You would do this by mentioning the keyword in the text of your webpage’s content frequently. Ideally the keyword would be mentioned in the webpage’s Title, the webpage’s URL, in the H1 heading and other headings, in the Alt text of any images on the page, and in the main written content. The Yoast Plugin makes this easy with a page analysis section that provides a checklist of SEO tasks to complete and allows you to see if you have missed any optimization opportunities.
Finally, it is important to consider linking. Internal linking should be used when possible. This is when you link from one page of your website to other pages within your website. This is important because Google recognizes that you have established a good internal linking structure and rewards this effort with higher search rankings. It is also important to try to develop inbound links – links from other websites that lead to your website. An example of this would be if an article from an online publication mentioned your website and linked back to you. Registering with online business directories like Yelp can help with this as well as they would also offer links back to your website.